Queen will not attend Commonwealth Day service, Palace says

11 March 2022, 18:08 | Updated: 11 March 2022, 20:42

The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service
The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service due to be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, Buckingham Palace has announced.

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It comes as it was also confirmed that Prince Harry will not return to the UK to attend the Duke of Edinburgh's memorial service on March 29.

The Queen, who has recently recovered from a bout of Covid, had hoped to join Prince Charles, Camilla and Will and Kate at the important occasion in the royal calendar.

But a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "After discussing the arrangements with the Royal Household, the Queen has asked the Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

"The Queen will continue with other planned engagements, including in-person audiences, in the week ahead."

The service would have been the Queen's first major public appearance since reaching her Platinum Jubilee milestone.

It will see the world premiere of the musical piece Beacon Of Brightest Light, inspired by the Queen's jubilee and composed by Debbie Wiseman, and will begin with a procession of Commonwealth flags.

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the event will feature the Queen's Commonwealth Day message, with members of the royal family set to meet people involved in the service at the end.

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The move comes despite the Queen's return to in-person engagements earlier in the week, having met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

During her meeting with Mr Trudeau, the head of state was not pictured with the walking stick she has been using of late and the pair shared a joke at the start of their meeting.

She was understood to have previously suffered mild Covid symptoms similar to having a cold, after coming into contact with her eldest son, Prince Charles, the week he had the virus.

The monarch tested positive for Covid on February 20 and spent two weeks carrying out only light duties - including virtual meetings - from Windsor Castle.

She was forced to call off two virtual appearances during her isolation period.

The spokesman also revealed another member of the royal family contracted Covid after the Queen, Charles and Camilla tested positive for the virus.

He said: "The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will no longer attend, following the duke's positive test for Covid.

"The Queen's Commonwealth Day message will be distributed in the usual way."

Concerns about the Queen's health were earlier raised when she spent a night in hospital last October, missing a string of events and being advised to undertake light duties by royal doctors.

She had only returned to something approaching normal working practices just before contracting Covid.